Collective Security Approach on Foreign Policy
If asked to advise the president of the United States on which approach should be pursued in American foreign policy, collective security or a balance of power, what would you advise?
If you believe that collective security is better policy, explain why in the Collective Security forum, supporting your argument with source-cited historical facts. If you believe that the balance of power system is better, explain why
if asked to advise the President of the United States on which approach should be pursued in American foreign policy, I would advise that he pursue collective security rather than a balance of power. First, I prefer collective security to balance of power because collective security promotes peace by discouraging powerful states from attacking weaker states. Additionally, collective security also promotes long-lasting collaboration and camaraderie between nations through agreements in which states jointly agree to protect one another, fostering peace and goodwill between the participating nations.
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In the balance of power foreign policy strategy, there is no “world government” to protect states from each other . . . each has to rely on its own resources and strategies to avoid being conquered, coerced, or otherwise endangered” (Walt, “Who’s Afraid of the Balance of Power” 2017). Because nations are not united by any official agreements or treaties, strong states can attack weak states without worrying about other nations stepping in to aid the weak state they’re attacking. Although the balance of power strategy typically involves the formation of alliances of states against the strongest state, bandwagoning also occurs, which involves “aligning with rather than against the greatest power to share the spoils of conquest” (Nau 2728). Such was the case in WWII, when Mussolini joined the Axis powers and declared war on France (Walt, Alliance Formation and the Balance of World Power, 8). While the balance of power strategy clearly isn’t an effective foreign policy strategy for ensuring peace and safety, collective security can more effectively deter strong states from attacking weak states, as powerful states realize that a multitude of other countries participating in the collective security system have agreed to step in and back the smaller country if they’re threatened or attacked. Such was the case in the creation of the League of Nations. Article 11 of the League of Nations committed members to consider “any war or threat of war, whether immediately affecting any of the Members of the League or not, . . . a matter of concern to the whole League” (Nau 5283).
Furthermore, I would also advise the President to use a foreign policy strategy of collective security over balance of power because collective security promotes long-lasting collaboration, communication, and peace between nations, while balance of power results in states outing selfishly and manipulatively, and constantly shifting alliances to secure their own security, often at the expense of other states. Nations who participate in collective security systems, such as the League of Nations, participate in the league’s decision making processes and engage and communicate with other member nations regularly, promoting collaboration and diplomacy. On the other hand, the balance of power is often shrouded in secret alliances, uncertainty, and betrayal. Nations often continuously change their institutional affiliations, values, and allies, through the formation of alliances, in which states align against the greatest power to prevent dominance, such as when when Stalin bandwagoned with Hitler in WWI, in an effort to prevent Germany from attacking the Soviet Union. However, this effort was futile, as Germany turned on the Soviet Union in 1941 and attacked the Soviet Union despite their prior alliance (Nau, 5631). Shifting alliances promotes deception and trickery, rather than communication and honestly and ultimately leaves nations vulnerable to being lied to and taken advantage of by enemies and allies alike. Ultimately, I would encourage the President to pursue the collective security rather than a balance of power strategy because collective security more effectively protects weak states from being conquered by powerful states and fosters honestly, camaraderie, and communication.